CAPE TOWN - The Fourth Industrial Revolution was in the spotlight at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town on Thursday, as data experts discussed how to navigate the future using data as a commodity to improve lives.
WEF managing director and head of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Global Network, Murat Sönmez, told delegates that data is the "oxygen" for Africa and had the potential to crack major challenges in the agricultural, health and transportation sectors, and even the cure for cancer.
But data must first be "extracted and collected" and was currently locked up.
Sonmez said governments will need to create policy frameworks for how that is done, and already South African government officials have shown a willingness to do that.
Head of Hepta Analytics Sylvia Makario, who is based in Rwanda, said information from data "collected from devices like, for example, cellphones, and electrical appliances that generate data too, is becoming massive and very overwhelming".